Sex differences in cerebral laterality of language and visuospatial processing

A. M. Clements, S. L. Rimrodt, J. R. Abel, J. G. Blankner, S. H. Mostofsky, J. J. Pekar, M. B. Denckla, L. E. Cutting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Sex differences on language and visuospatial tasks are of great interest, with differences in hemispheric laterality hypothesized to exist between males and females. Some functional imaging studies examining sex differences have shown that males are more left lateralized on language tasks and females are more right lateralized on visuospatial tasks; however, findings are inconsistent. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study thirty participants, matched on task performance, during phonological and visuospatial tasks. For each task, region-of-interest analyses were used to test differences in cerebral laterality. Results indicate that lateralization differences exist, with males more left lateralized during the phonological task and showing greater bilateral activity during the visuospatial task, whereas females showed greater bilateral activity during the phonological task and were more right lateralized during the visuospatial task. Our data provide clear evidence for differences in laterality between males and females when processing language versus visuospatial information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-158
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Language
  • Neuroimaging
  • Sex differences
  • Visuospatial processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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